Former FBI Director James Comey’s memos describing his interactions with President Donald Trump were leaked late Thursday, after the Department of Justice shared the documents with Congress.
Comey — who was appointed FBI director by President Barack Obama and fired by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017 — has recently become an aggressively outspoken critic of Trump, declaring that he is “morally unfit” for the presidency.
In the declassified and redacted memos shared with the Associated Press, Comey recorded details about his conversations with Trump. Over seven separate conversations with Comey, the president broached a number of topics that threatened the institutional barrier between the FBI and the office of the President. Some have argued that Trump’s comments about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who has pled guilty to lying to the FBI, constitute obstruction of justice.
Trump responded to the new Comey memos with a tweet claiming that the memos demonstrate his presidential campaign didn’t collude with Russia, and that he didn’t obstruct justice. It’s not clear what in the documents led Trump to this conclusion. Trump also criticized Comey for leaking “classified” information. While Comey did leak a memo last May to the press in an attempt to prompt a special council investigation, Comey maintains that nothing in that memo was classified.
Comey has been on a media blitz for the past few weeks to promote the release of his recent memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, appearing on The View, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and on Thursday before the memos were leaked, on stage at New York’s Town Hall for an interview with The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick. While the book spans Comey’s life, it’s not a memoir, and the chapters on his time as FBI Director — as well as his colorful descriptions of Trump and Obama’s physical attributes — have drawn widespread media interest. It’s also drawn the ire of Trump, who called him an “untruthful slime ball.”
This is not the first time a memo has dominated the political news cycle in the past year. In February, the House Intelligence Committee released the “Nunes memo,” which alleged that the FBI overstepped its authority in surveilling a Trump campaign official. Congressional Democrats later released a memo aiming to debunk the allegations in the Nunes memo.
Read the Comey memos in full below.